Sharp Corporation hopes that RoBoHoN changes the future of smartphones, by turning them into mobile robots. Sharon Reich reports.
Just when we thought we'd seen it all in a smartphone, Sharp Corporation introduces RoBoHoN, a robot smartphone that gets smarter the more you use it. RoBoHoN is programmed to learn from interacting, so each time you use it, it stores data in its cloud system. It also uses facial recognition to tell you to smile for pictures, while being your personal assistant, stereo, and image projector. It can even hail you a cab. Sharp's Kuniyuki Maruyama says designers wanted to create a phone that users could connect with intimately. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) SHARP CORPORATION, PRODUCT PLANNING DEPARTMENT, KUNIYUKI MARUYAMA, SAYING: "Because the robot will learn about the user through the daily life they share together, I think it will offer people a much happier life." As for the actual phone, RoBoHoN has a two-inch touch screen on its back to make calls, send texts and surf the web. It won't fit in your pocket though, so if you plan to bring this guy anywhere, you'll have to wear him around your neck or place him in a carry all. That doesn't seem to be an issue for these folks, who checked out RoBoHon at a trade show near Tokyo. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) VISITOR CALLED NAGAI, SAYING: "It is capable of various things, such as responding to your speech. There are many kinds of way to use it. I think this is really a new idea that we have never seen before." (SOUND BITE) (Japanese) VISITOR, MIWAKO TANG, SAYING: "I saw it on Twitter first, and then came to see the real thing. It's smaller than I thought and it's really cute." The robot phone is expected to hit Japanese stores in 2016.